Wichita — A new law that goes into effect today will force thousands of Kansas residents to get new license plates.
The law eliminates all duplicate vanity plates, meaning tens of thousands of Kansas drivers will be forced to either come up with a new tag or stop paying the $46 fee for the plates and stick with the normal ones the state provides.
Department of Revenue spokesman Carmen Alldritt said there are about 85,000 vanity tags in Kansas, and roughly 33,000 of them are duplicates. The state sent letters to every holder of a vanity plate telling them whether they would be able to keep their tag.
“They have those little county designators up there, but at 70 miles per hour, you can’t really tell which county a tag is from,” Alldritt said. “Kansas is one of a handful of states that was allowing the capability of multiple registrations of the same vanity plate.”
The change is necessary because Department of Motor Vehicle computers are being revamped. Officials said the $40 million project will help make the DMV and law enforcement agencies more efficient.
“This project is going to modernize the way our department runs, but it will also be a big improvement for public safety,” said project spokeswoman Gena Terlizzi.
The new law is especially upsetting to longtime plate holders like William Sullivan, a Wichita resident who has had a plate that reads SULLY since the 1970s in honor of his father, Odom Sullivan.
“My dad was named Sully and was mayor of Wichita in the ’40s, so it’s an honor,” William Sullivan said. “I tried to talk to the legislators, but they didn’t return my call.”
Sullivan said he is losing his tag because there is at least one Kansas resident who has had the SULLY plate longer than he has.